Reeling from a recent bollocking I received on a site I no longer frequent, I'm here to write about my feelings. Any comment that doesn't respect those feelings, which I am entitled to even though I'm merely a lock-step member of the patriarchy who can't escape that all-encompassing construct, will be deleted. But please put it there anyway, because having spent years being, if a bit contrarian, I would have thought at least 2/3 of the time a defender and advocate of most reasonable levels of feminist argument, I feel utterly let down and am completely in the mood to clean house and rethink friendships.
If that sounds grumpy, or over-the-top, so be it. I try to express emotions honestly on this site, which is a much a personal as a political space, and this is how I feel.
I react badly to attacks from my own, speaking in a broad political sense. I admit this isn't rational and may draw on emotions sourced in notions like mateship, team loyalty or group identity that most of the left, including myself, are adept at picking apart. But it is still there; the sense that being aimed in generally the same direction on a broad swathe of issues might build the social capital that allows for differences of opinion to be understood and respected.
The notion also has a downside in that significant disappointments in this regard leave me questioning everything. Isn't this small-mindedness, marginalisation, or bigotry, what I am devoting energy to ending? If it's equally prevalent on my 'side' am I just under a delusion?
It's a stupid, naive notion and this final straw will hopefully ensure I don't raise an eyebrow in future when someone ignores my subjective experience as an individual and casts me, because of my gender, race, sexuality, or any other reference point for bigotry, as the generic 'other' against which their own fiercely polemic narrative must assert itself.
The left has always found its fiercest antagonisms to be internal. It is the political manifestation of the narcissism of minor differences, the peculiar contempt we feel for those who want to do things similarly, but not the same, as us. So the Greens hate Labor Left, and vice versa, and Socialists can turn on each other with spiteful rage. And yet I don't know if I should even think of myself as close to some of the extremes of what is ostensibly my 'side' of politics.
To be fair, in return, I am more of a centrist with a leftward leaning- it isn't my place, per se, to centre my own views as the middle of the left, some sort of objective reference point. I quite like Petro Georgiou and Malcolm Fraser, finding my political locus is not straightforward. But that doesn't mean I have to eagery lap up the kind of 'reverse' bigotry that allows people to make assumptions about me merely because of the role biology handed me in the breeding process.
Offensive is implying someone must be selfish in "male" ways, such as taking up too much room on crowded trains, when all you know about them is what's between their legs.
Offensive is suggesting some marginal space like the games room is the automatic repository for any males who don't want to talk footy and watch strippers, implying your interlocutor must either suit one or the other. That's like saying "oh there's a women's space already, look, the sewing room!"
Offensive is allowing vastly different standards in respect of the type of behaviours- for example sitting with legs wide apart, having an aggressive presentation, or even reading porn, depending, again, on what's between the person's legs.
I've known so many women who have experienced some tangible, sometimes shocking, misery at the hands of my own gender. I can see the large proportion of males who wander around waving their metaphorical (or literal) crotches and no doubt confirming the perceptions of both patriarchy and ongoing violent threat that so many women identify. There IS a long way to go. So there is a fair amount I will suck up out of respect for that ongoing problematic, from taking steps not to walk behind women on dark roads at night, to tempering my language, volume, or physical bearing out of sensitivity for the numerous experiences and unpleasant potentials those things have the capacity to trigger in others' perceptions, however benign my own intent.
I'm not angry, sorry if the strong expression of feelings above suggests otherwise. I am offended though, and a bit sad, and I would simply like to ask that if you disagree with any of the things I listed as finding offensive above, you do not comment, and leave me alone from now on, because I can't face the disappointment I will feel when I realise where I stand in your judgement. I have desisted from ad hominem attack and avoided naming or linking in respect of the thread in question, populated as it is by people I still hold some affection and respect for. We simply have what might be called an irreconcilable difference.
I would be grateful for the same courtesy- I've HAD ENOUGH for this month, thanks.